Resume for your consideration

 You have to keep your options open. Although I have a stable job with a multinational corporation, I continue to peruse the job market in my quest to find an even better position than the one I currently hold. The problem is that as soon as soon as I see an employment listing, the position is filled before I have a chance to apply for it. I guess it’s true that the greatest ingredient to success is timing. It seems that there has to be a way to get ahead of the job search system. I have an idea. I think the answer is to apply for a job before the general public ever knows that it is available. There are two ways to do this.

The first, and far more morbid, way is to just cruise the obituaries with the thought that every name that is listed is one more job opportunity. However, there are a few problems with that system. First of all, for some unknown reason, the numbers of elderly people who are now deceased are greater than those of any other demographic group and the elderly tend not to have the most covetous jobs. Even worse, most of them don’t even work. Oh yes, they have some great excuses like, ”I am 90” and “I just retired six months ago after working double shifts for 53 years in a coal mine”, but to me it just sounds like they are being lazy. The worst of it is that those employed at all  work only as greeters at Wal-Mart. I am sorry but having to sling shopping carts at the dazzling human specimens that frequent Wal-Mart does not sound very appealing. An addition flaw in trying to follow the Grim Reaper into a career change is that showing up at funerals and asking the surviving family members if the deceased had a good dental plan or got holidays off leads to more confrontations than I feel comfortable with.

The other means of obtaining employment in a position that you desire is to find a job that, although currently occupied, would be a perfect fit for you. All that remains is to make the case as to why you would be the ideal person to do the job better than it is being done.  I have been looking at the various occupations around and think that I found the one that I want. The job requires a limited work schedule, a lot of fringe benefits and best of all, the current job holder has been there so long that he is not doing the job as well as someone new would. That is why I am submitting my application of the position of…….Santa Claus.

First, let’s look at why I am a natural fit to fill the position:

SCHEDULE. Let’s face the facts. Santa actually only really works one day per year. If you ask any of my former managers, they will assure you that only working one day per year is something I am accustomed to.

CHILDREN. Similar to the soon to be ex-Mr. Claus, I tolerate other people’s children once every 365 days as well.

SLEIGH DRIVING. I have been involved in the transportation of various goods throughout my professional career. And if I can maneuver a 25 foot beverage truck with bad brakes through the cobblestone streets of downtown Saint Augustine while drinking a coffee and talking on the cell phone, then landing a sleigh on a roof is really no big deal.

TOYS.  The only other adult on the planet that knows more about toys than me is Josh Baskin ( for the uninformed that was the name of the Tom Hanks character in “Big”). Proof of this is that I am the only person over the age of 10 that still includes a new Hess truck on his Christmas wish list every year.

ELF MANAGEMENT. This should be the one area where my experience should be lacking but unfortunately everyplace I have ever worked at has been run by small petty people so working with actual elves would not be a new experience.

DIET. Cookies, hot chocolate, candy, candy canes, these are the items that Santa is said to consume. Or as I call them…..lunch.

It is not enough to just show that I could do the job as well as it is being done, I need to show how I can do it better. The truth is that with no real competition, the current Santa Claus has become complacent so it’s time to bring some innovation to the North Pole. Guess who has two thumbs and some ways to jazz up Christmas? THIS GUY!!

We need to begin with the basics. I love the nostalgia of the whole reindeer pulled sleigh idea but in this day and age some changes need to be made. A sleigh? In light of the reality of global warming having a vehicle only is useful for transportation across snow seems silly. I have an invention that we should introduce, it’s called the wheel. Actually I am in contract negotiations with the Volkswagen Corporation on designing a new sleigh. First of all, no one designs autos like the Germans and secondly I love the idea of the Christmas Eve trip involving an intercontinental game of Punch Buggy.

I like the idea of using unpaid slave labor to make the toys and will continue to use elves with a few alterations. Say goodbye to the miniature toy makers with the bells on their pointed toed shoes. I am replacing them with the elves from The Lord of The Rings. I would love to see a kid complain about a toy that was made by a race of Immortals with deadly accurate archery skills. Sorry little Johnny that you don’t like the fire truck you just unwrapped. Why don’t you go tell Legolas why it is not good enough, as soon as he is done killing that cave troll with his bare hands.

The suit needs some work as well. Bright red with fur-lined collar? What are we trying to do, give the P.E.T.A. people a heart attack? I say we go with some jeans and a hoodie in soft muted tones. I just think it is unsafe to wear any bright colors in any state that has a Stand Your Ground law on the books.

We need to talk about what the Santa gig is really all about, namely toys. This is the area where the current Santa is really slacking. His obsession with safety has meant the too many toys have been eliminated from the inventory. Has anybody seen the toys now available? They are about as exciting as a mayonnaise sandwich on white bread. It has gotten so bad that we now have board games based on iPhone apps that were based on board games. Somebody stop this ride, I want to get off. The obsession with safety has means all the toys are now nontoxic and non- fun. I think it’s time to bring back some good old-fashioned danger into Christmas morning. I am going to bring back every lead paint based, phosphorus leaking, and sharp edged toy that I can. People can boo hoo all they want about unsafe toys, I know that if it wasn’t for b.b. guns and micro machines poor little Kevin McAlister would never have been able to fend off the Wet Bandits. There is also the issue with creating lasting holiday memories. Sure, a kid may let the morning that he received a Nerf ball fade from his recollection but nobody forgets the trip to the E.R. that was a result of the ride in the go-cart with no seat belt. Like the saying goes,” Photos are fleeting but x-rays are forever.”

The other part of the job that I am uniquely qualified for is the process of designating a kid as naughty or nice. This is the job I was born to do. I spend the majority of my waking hours observing the actions of others and making arbitrary judgment based on what I see so determining the classification of whether some snotty nosed brat as naughty or nice is just too easy. I understand that just making these judgments based on nothing more than my own internal premonitions about a kid is probably somewhat unfair so I will have to codify a few ways to avoid the naughty list. Come to think of it, I can’t believe that we are still using the designation of naughty and nice to describe behaviors in 2012. Clearly we need to come up with new labels to identify positive and negative behavior.  I am going to now refer to the two lists as “Awesome” a.k.a. the nice list and “Sucks” will be the naughty list. It is rather simple to be on the Awesome list. A child and/or adult should treat people well, take care of their responsibilities, look out for your fellow man…. yada yada yada.

Appearance on the Sucks list requires me to lay out a few rules. Committing any of the following offenses will result in immediate inclusion on the Sucks list and let me just add that I hope you like coal.

AUTOMATIC SUCKS BEHAVIORS

  • ·         Saying “axe” when you mean “asked”
  • ·         Writing “a lot” as one word.
  • ·         Farting in an elevator.
  • ·         Not agreeing that Empire Strikes Back is the best Star Wars movie.
  • ·         Using off brand Band Aids
  • ·         Having to appear on Maury more than once to find out who your Baby Daddy is.
  • ·         Not liking baseball/football
  • ·         Liking soccer
  • ·         Referring to a tomato as a fruit.
  • ·         Not using turn signals in a car
  • ·         Using hand signals on a moped.
  • ·         Riding a Vespa
  • ·         Turning your mobile phone’s speaker on in a grocery store.
  • ·         Posting intimate details about your life on Facebook and then publicly lamenting that you wish people would” just leave you alone”
  • ·         Asking everyone you meet to read your blog.
  • ·         Reading this blog
  • ·         Not knowing “who lives in a pineapple under the sea”
  • ·         Letting your kids watch Family Guy/American Dad/the WNBA/ the news.
  • ·         Complaining about the weather
  • ·         Blaming it on the a-a-a-lcohol.

 

 

So I guess that is how I will submit my application for Santa Claus. References available upon request.

 

 

 

Last minute gift ideas

Dear Santa,

I know, I know. It has been quite a while since I have written to you but I have been quite busy lately. I understand that you are not used to receiving letters from those of us who are over legal voting/drinking age but since I didn’t really have any kind of relationship with you until I was seventeen years old then I kind of figured that I had some unused years of eligibility left. Also, I presumed that since you are a magical elf that can manipulate the relationship of time and space that you could bend the rules for me and accept this letter. I was just going to deliver this in person to one of your duly appointed representatives at the mall but apparently they haven’t lifted that restraining order yet. However in my defense, I had just figured that if a five year old is going to run his mouth like that then he really out to be able to take a punch. I am just glad that the Taser marks have finally healed.

Well if you made it this far in the letter then I guess I should really get to the point. I would love to tell you how good I have been this year but I recall something about “he sees you when you’re sleeping and knows when you’re awake” so I won’t waste your time with lies and deception. The truth is that although I have tried to be good, I have been fairly naughty this year. I have acted selfishly. I have gotten angry at the people I love. On occasions, I have drank too much and listened too little. I have not been patient with the faults of others nor those of myself. Most of all, I just haven’t made the positive difference in the world that I believe it is every human being’s obligation to make. There have been moments when I have been good but these just haven’t occurred frequently enough this year. Due to the fact that I find myself on the provisionally naughty list this year, I will not ask for the tangible gifts that I normally would request. I won’t ask for videogames. I won’t ask for some new great kitchen tool that would make me feel like a real cook. I won’t ask for the new Hess truck to add to my collection or a new Star Wars t-shirt, although I don’t think you can ever have too many. Even if I did ask for some physical gift I doubt you could find our house in order to deliver it. The tree is not yet up and the lights are not strung along the roofline. There is no inflatable snowman in the front yard and there is no lighted replica of you on the front porch. I would like to blame our tardiness in decoration on my recent illness or the financial struggles that our family, and many other families too, are experiencing.

But I must be honest, there is something more than that and that is why I need your help. So Santa, the only thing I need from you is ………………….Christmas. No, I don’t mean the actual date of December 25. The passage of time means that day will come and go as it always has. I also don’t mean the version of Christmas that is marketed and packaged as nothing more than an excuse for out-of-control consumerism so that what was once a holy day of celebration is nothing more than an excuse to buy more useless junk. No, the Christmas I am referring to is about something that that can’t be wrapped in a box nor stuffed in an envelope. In the words of Dr. Seuss, it is about “a little bit more”. This is the Christmas I need you to bring.

I want the Christmas that feels like a warm blanket at the end of a cold day.

I want the Christmas that I had the first year I was married as we sat in front of our scrawny tree and shared gifts that were the first ones we had ever had together.

I want the Christmas when my daughter was one and the time when she was mesmerized by the lights and ornaments on the tree not the presents beneath it.

I want the Christmas when my son got his first baseball. It was simple and he had no idea how much joy watching him play has given me.

I want the Christmas of family. I want the day where we get together and instead of convincing our selves why we are better than these other individuals, we share the love that keeps us together.

I want the Christmas of peace and reconciliation. I have seen to many families fall apart this year and I wish them the kindness of heart to put their differences aside and find a way to be kind and respectful to each other.

I want a Christmas of action. Please bring me a time when we can stop feeling bad about those suffering around us and start doing the things that are needed to make their lives better.

I want a Christmas of priorities. Each day we lose a little of the relationships we have with friends and families because we let the distractions of life steal the attention we should pay to the ones who matter to us.

I want the Christmas of love. I want Jews and Muslims, Christians and Hindus, Devout religious fanatics and skeptical atheists to treat each other like the god they believe in, or don’t, wants them to.

Finally, I want a Merry Christmas. Not an empty platitude to mumble as you go about your day, but rather a true feeling of happiness that is based on the lives we have and not the things we own.

So dear Santa, please bring me the Christmas I need….because I know I am not the only one.

Back in Black

It starts so innocently. We are all there gathered around the dining room table, the remains of a huge Thanksgiving feast occupying our plates. Perhaps it is the overload of tryptophan coursing through our veins that dulls our senses and makes what comes next inevitable. Someone will turn the conversation from the empty promises of never eating so much in one sitting ever again, a promise only to be broken on Christmas Day, to a census of who is actually working the next day.  As the number reaches a socially acceptable level, some will blurt out a suggestion. It is a suggestion wrought with peril and unbelievable danger. But in our full bellied stupor, we are oblivious to the risks involved. So we all agree to embark on this fools’ errand. We are going Christmas shopping together.

Blaque Friday. Even the name sounds ominous. I know that you may recognize it by its traditional spelling ”b-l-a-c-k”.  There are two reasons for spelling it as I do. First, I refuse to refer to that apocalyptic mayhem that will occur in the wee hours of the day after Thanksgiving by the same term that describes the color of my daughter’s favorite t-shirts and the last name of that master thespian that starred in such masterpieces as Nacho Libre and Shallow Hal. Secondly, I get sick and tired of losing every “friendly” game of Scrabble that we play at our house because I can’t get rid of the stinking Q, U and E tiles so I am committed to expanding the list of words one could spell with those letter tiles that I am convinced are direct from the fiery pits of Hell.

Anyway, back to my disdainful assessment of Blaque Friday. I guess it isn’t the complete embodiment of evil. I reserve that designation for the guys that invented Instant coffee and the accordian. It was bad enough when Satan’s shopping day started on Friday morn. But now, we can experience this crap-fest on Thursday night. I guess the Freemasons that run the secret world government( sorry turkey also makes me less resistant to outlandish conspiracy theories) have decided that it is not enough to have hordes of people descend on the local discount retailers as they elbow and pepper spray their way to purchasing a substandard flatscreen  television or $5 size smedium pajama bottoms. And based on the people lined up outside the Wal-mart last night, I would say it has been many a Christmas since they could fit into a smedium anything. No they have to start this retail trip to Thunderdome before the last serving of pumpkin pie has been eaten. There is even a term for this yearly advance, or Retail Blitzkreig.It is called the Thanksgiving Creep. It’s funny that I heard that term as soon as I pulled up at my in-laws house yesterday, probably just a coincidence. My biggest issue with this premature shopulation is that it has served to completely disrupt my Thanksgiving schedule. Here is the way things are supposed to go:

5:00am       Ignore one cat scratching on bed room door.

5:10am           Ignore both cats scratching on bedroom door.

5:11am           Explain to cats that I am not working today

5:11am           Realize that cats don’t care about my work schedule

5:12am           Remember why I hate cats

5:15am           Get out of bed

5:16am           Slam toe into edge of door.

5:16am      Release string of 37 obscenities

5:17am           Hobble into kitchen and get out coffee beans

5:18am           Miss coffee grinder reservoir and pour beans all over floor.

5:19am           Look for broom and dustpan

5:20am           Find broom

5:22am           Give up looking for dustpan and kick coffee beans underneath refrigerator.

5:23am           Grind new batch of coffee beans and pour into coffee pot. Turn on coffee pot.

5:24am           Walk into hallway to turn down heater.

5:25am           Notice burning smell.

5:30am           Realize forgot to put water in coffee pot. Drop “f-bomb”. Unplug coffee pot

5:35am           Decide to go out for coffee.

5:36am           Consider brushing teeth, taking shower, getting dressed and combing hair.

5:37am           Put on baseball cap and grab car keys.

5:40am           Arrive at donut shop.

5:41am           Recognize former high school classmate entering donut shop that I haven’t seen in years

5:41am           Make u-turn. Head home to brush teeth, take shower, get dressed and comb hair.

6:00am           Return to donut shop.

6:01am           Talk to former classmate. Make empty promise to keep in touch. Remember reason hadn’t talked to classmate in years. Vow to keep it that way.

6:20am           Return home with coffee and newspaper.

6:21am           Realize I forgot to grab house keys

6:22am           Start to ring doorbell to have other family members unlock door for me.

6:23am           Remember reaction to last time woke up family members on holiday.

6:24am           Decide to crawl in through window.

6:26am           Explain to policeman that I live here and why I am breaking in to own house.

6:35am           Get called idiot by civil servant. Remember not to contribute to Police Benevolent Society this year.

6:45am           Finally sit down to newspaper and lukewarm coffee.

6:46am           Wonder who Luke is and why the heck he got a temperature named after him.

6:47am           Promise to never make that joke again.

6:48am           Begin to read newspaper for only time this year.

6:54am           Finish reading newspaper. Realize newspaper sucks.

7:00am           Log on to computer.

7:01am           Send birthday greetings to person I barely know.

7:02am           Realize that have lots to do so will just check email and get off computer.

9:35am           Get off computer.

9:36am           Head to kitchen to make gourmet breakfast.

9:37am           Eat cold Pop-Tarts from wrapper.

9:45am           Begin preparing desserts and side dish for taking to Thanksgiving Dinner.

10:00am        Head to store to get items for desserts and side dish that I forgot to buy.

10:30am        Arrive home and put items in fridge.

10:35am        Realize there is no room in fridge.

10:36am        Remove six pack of beer from fridge to “make room”.

10:37am        Decide it is a holiday so I can drink one beer at noon.

10:39am        Drink entire six pack.

Noon               Wake up in bathroom floor.

12:10p.m.      Stagger back to kitchen to continue making desserts and side dish for taking to Thanksgiving Dinner.

1:00p.m.        Begin to consider if 2 bags of Cheetos would make appropriate side dish.

2:30p.m.        Complete cooking and load food into car.

2:32p.m.        Slam hand in door and scream obscenities.

2:33p.m.        Apologize to Reverend neighbor for language.

2:35p.m.        Depart for in-laws’ house.

2:43p.m.        Return home to pick up child that was left behind.

2:44p.m.        Make bad Home Alone joke .

2:45p.m.        Get dirty look from spouse.

3:30p.m.        Arrive at in-laws’ house.

3:35p.m.        Explain to spouse that it is headache not hangover.

3:36p.m.        Get dirty look from spouse.

3:40p.m.        Open in-laws’ medicine cabinet to search for aspirin.

3:41p.m.        Slam medicine cabinet shut. Vow to never open relatives’ medicine cabinet ever again.

3:45p.m.        Fix plate of food.

3:47p.m.        Am asked to lead family thanksgiving prayer. Begin to thoughtfully express my feelings of gratititude.

3:49p.m.        Get bored and so I start to chant ,”Kali ma” and pretend to rip heart from nephew’s chest.

3:50p.m.        Pick up plate and go eat outside.

3:55p.m.        Make fun of homely kid playing next door.

4:00p.m.        Learn people at table are homely kid’s parents.

4:01p.m.        Pick up plate and head in to sit inside.

4:02p.m.        Realize sliding glass door was closed wehen I tried to walk through it.

4:03p.m.        Clean up mess.

4:10p.m.        Listen to wife’s family talk about relatives that I have never met. Think those relatives are probably glad.

4:20p.m.        Begin to size up which relative would survive the longest in zombie apocalypse. Decide it is creepy ex-con uncle. Decide to go pick up survival tips from him.

4:30p.m.        Push away plate and swear to never eat again.

4:40p.m.        Eat again.

5:00p.m.        Retire to living room to watch football game I don’t care about.

5:15p.m.        Make fearful comment whenever team scores and pretend to call “bookie”

5:18p.m.        Get bored with it and just decide to watch game.

5:25p.m.        Hear in-laws snoring on couch. Ask wife for feather and shaving cream. Wife responds to “grow up”.

5:26p.m.        Decide to go outside and play ball with kids.

5:30p.m.        Tells nephew he throws like girl.

5:31p.m.        Discover that I am playing with niece. Vow to get eyes checked.

5:35p.m.        I miss ball and try to plunger out dent in car door.

6:00p.m.        Start to say goodbyes in order to leave.

9:00p.m.        Actually leave.

9:15p.m.        Return to in-laws to pick up spouse I left behind.

9:17p.m.        Spouse begins to google search for lawyers.

 

On second thought, maybe Black Friday can’t come soon enough.

Jingle Balls

“I like Jesus very much, but he no help with curveball.” –Pedro Ceranno

If you are one who celebrates the season, then you know what it feels like. The date on the calendar tells you it’s over. All the markings that celebrate the season have been removed. The lights outside have been turned off. The particular foods that are synonymous with the season are no longer being eaten. It seems like it will last forever but it has now ended and only when you discover a discarded list or card do you come to terms with its finality. You are tired and odds are you are broke from the overspending that accompanies the daily attempt to fully enjoy it. Your house is a mess from the lack of time to clean it properly because of all the late nights and travel. All the little irritations and annoyances that accompany the season seem forgotten in the warm glow of accomplishment that you feel once it is over. The truth is that you are more than a little sad to see it end. Although you have seen this season come and go numerous times, each year it seems different and unique. It is a time for children, but you know that the adults enjoy it as much as their offspring do. And as the years pass, you realize that a time will come when your kids will outgrow it so you attempt to make each one as special as possible. As soon as this one ends, you start making plans on how the next one is going to be even better.

No. I am not talking about Christmas. I am talking about youth baseball and to those that partake in these high holy days, it is a far more spiritual experience. However, upon review it has far more similarity to that December holiday that I had previously realized. Witness the evidence:

·        Christmas is a season involving a costumed man in red, Santa, that many kids both love and fear.

·        Baseball is a season involving a costumed man in blue, The Umpire, that kids love when he calls them safe and fear that he is going to call that ball that just bounced across the plate a strike

·        Christmas is a season where parents spend $100 for a bike that their kids will leave out in the rain.

·        Baseball is a season where parents pay $100 for a leather glove that their kids will leave out in the rain.

·        Christmas is a time when people who love each other will scream at each other due to the stress of the season

·        Baseball season is a time when people who love each other will scream at each other because of the stress of watching a kid take a strikeout looking with the bases loaded in a tied ball game.

·        During Christmas there are people whose sole job is to stop people from stealing, they are called security guards.

·        During baseball season there are people whose sole job is to stop people from stealing, they are called catchers.

·        During Christmas, adults go to church and quietly say words like “Son of God” and “Mother Mary” in a voice only God can hear.

·        During baseball season, adults come to the park and quietly say things like “Son of a <bleep>” and “Mother <bleep>er” in a voice that they hope the kids can’t hear.

I guess the one thing that makes both things so similar is the way that marketing companies and commercials have completely violated the celebration of both. While Christmas has recently become a victim of the attempt by retail to push the season earlier and earlier so that it is now possible to have your inflatable Santa holding a Jack-o-Lantern on Halloween night , baseball has fallen victim to equally nefarious schemes that seem destined to separating the “volunteer” coaches from their money. Consider the following scenario: A parent decides to coach his son’s tee ball team but has never run a baseball practice before, so logic dictates he goes to the interwebs for some advice. He googles “free baseball drills” and the results display at least 50 different listings for “free” practice plans for $19.95. Apparently in the baseball world the word “free” has a different definition than in any other segment of society.

I have been involved in coaching my son’s teams for the past 12 seasons( in Florida there is such a thing as Fall baseball) and have learned a few things in the process, so if you want to coach or just pass yourself off as one at the local bar, here are a few tips:

·        If you want the mothers to come to the games, treat the kids with respect.

·        If you want fathers to come to the game, make sure the Team Mom is hot.

·        It’s only called tee ball because the term “herding cats” was already taken.

·        Every kid says that they can pitch, 99% of them are lying.

·        Use the following terms in your coaching instructions: Bend your back, follow through, back of the box, split the plate, roll a pair in the middle.

·        If you actually know what those terms mean there is no need to read this article.

·        “Take one for the team” only applies to other people’s kids.

·        If you believe that winning doesn’t matter at all and the kids only care about having fun, baseball may not be the best sport for you. I would recommend unicorn rodeo or perhaps dragon racing.

·        Baseball will remind you how much you love kids and detest their parents.

·        The players’ health and safety is important. If your star player is bleeding out of less than 75% of his orifices, then leave him in the game. If the cricket chaser in right field hiccups, then you need to give him two weeks off to recover.

·        A ball off the fascia is live…every time.

Finally, enjoy the madness.  You will never celebrate louder than you do when you see a great group of kids succeed.  It’s better than meth without the facial sores and tooth loss.  Coaching and working with the kids is the best feeling in the world and I wish ever parent could experience it.  Well I gotta go and get ready for next season.